The first trailer for “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” came out on Thursday, showcasing an animalistic new chapter for the long-running action franchise.
The trailer sets the tone early with Optimus Prime, leader of the good-guy Autobots, in a jungle, preparing to face off with a giant mechanical gorilla voiced by Ron Perlman. But instead of a fight, the gorilla issues a warning: “I’m not the one to fear, Prime. There is a darkness coming.”
The gorilla is Optimus Primal, one of several new animal-themed characters entering the mix from Transformers’ “Beast Wars” spinoff of the 1990s. They’re a special group of Transformers called the “Maximals,” and they turn into animals instead of the vehicles more people are familiar with.
The trailer highlights other Maximals in action: the cheetah-based Cheetor is seen keeping pace with Bumblebee in Chevrolet Camaro form; the rhino-based Rhinox bellows at the camera in another shot; and the winged Airazor shoots fire at a bridge, causing it to collapse.
The Transformers will be joined by two other subgroups new to the film franchise: the Terrorcons, which are basically zombie Transformers, and the Predacons, which take the form of predatory animals. The new factions are joining the war already being waged on Earth between Autobots and Decepticons.
Two human protagonists new to the series get a little screen time in the trailer. A lead character played by Anthony Ramos evades police in a Porsche 911 – actually a Transformer called Mirage voiced by Pete Davidson. And co-star Dominique Fishback is briefly seen in a close-up shot at the end.
“Rise of the Beasts” is the second Transformers film since Michael Bay, who directed the first five, transitioned into a producer role. This new installment was directed by Steven Caple Jr., who most recently directed “Creed II” in 2018.
Like its predecessor “Bumblebee,” one of the better-received Transformers films, “Rise of the Beasts” is set in a past era, this time the 1990s.